“Celebrate the people in your life who are there because they love you for no other reason than because you are you.” ? Mandy Hale.

When Aristotle was asked, in the 4th century BC, what defines a friend, he had no doubts. A friend is “one soul inhabiting two bodies”, he said, adding: “Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.”

We all desire good friends. We all desire strong relationships. But, how do we decide on who our friends are and how do we develop strong relationships? And once we have those things, how do we decide which of our friends make it into the inner circle and which do not? What is the purpose of your closest relationships?

Is your best friend at work? The guy in your neighborhood? A girl you grew up with? Somebody in your Northstar Group? Your wife? Your boyfriend. Your dad? Your sister? Your therapist? Your piano teacher?

Regardless of who the person is, there are some common sense attributes the person should have to make it into your inner circle.

First, are they headed where you are? Amos 3:3 says, “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” Which way are they going: spiritually, vocationally, financially or physically? It is difficult to plan to share your journey with someone that is going in an opposite direction. How do you plan to share a journey going in different directions? In the same vein, do they have the same clarity, vision and purpose in their lives? If they don’t know what they’re doing – or why – will you trust them to stay the course?

Second, how long have you known them? It takes time to build a trusting relationship? If you choose somebody for your inner circle too quickly, chances are you’re going to disappoint each other? It takes time to know the real depth of the relationship. Another question to ask is does the other person have any other trusting and honest friendships? If they have no long-term, trusting and authentic friendships, shouldn’t you ask yourself, “Why?”

Third, what do they believe about God? Are they Christ followers? 1 Corinthians 2:16 says: “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” We are to have Jesus’ thoughts, feelings and purposes. Is that attitude or perspective reflected by the members of your inner circle? If we build our lives on differing foundations, what happens? Will they carry you to Christ and encourage you to follow Christ?

As it involves your inner circle and the people closest to you, these notions deserve some thought. Give them some consideration.

Discussion Questions:
1. What is your motive for picking your friends? What is your mission for picking your friends?
2. What are some other questions you should ask yourself before allowing someone into your inner circle? What qualifies the person to be in your inner circle other than familiarity?
3. Jesus would not allow Himself to be controlled by other people’s priorities or problems. He chose to surround Himself with people who had His vision and were capable of fulfilling it. (Luke 14:26)
4. Jeremiah 23:18 says: “But which of them has stood in the council of the LORD to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word?” Inner circle or group of confidants can be substituted for the word council in this verse. What does this verse say about people in your inner circle?
5. Pray and ask God to show you the people He would have in your inner circle.